GERUND OR INFINITIVE?
Wu Guo (English Teaching and Researching Office)
This paper, reviewing the historical development of the gerund and the infinitive, makes a study of the distinctions between them with respect to meaning, time, aspect and mood. It proposes that the gerund, being general in meaning and with an implication of fulfilment, often refers to an activity in general or an action simultaneous with or preceding that of the main verb while the infinitive, more specific and with an implication of potentiality, is used to express an action following that of the main verb. The former may also have some durative, progressive, deliberate, or recurrent characteristics and some emotional coloring while the latter usually refers to a simple action and may sometimes be putative or conditional rather than factual.